LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–June 15, 2018

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Why Fed Rate Hike Can Drive You to Pay Down Credit Cards
The price tag for the latest Fed rate hike will be an extra $1.6 billion this year alone for consumers who are carrying debt on their credit cards. And that’s the added cost of just one rate hike. Many economists expect two more rate hikes in 2018. And many are forecasting another three rate hikes in 2019. Consumers began the year with more than $1 trillion charged on their credit cards for the first time ever. About 41.2 percent of all households carry some credit card debt. Researchers found the median debt per American household to be $2,300, while the average debt stands at $5,700 based on the most recent data from the Survey of Consumer Finances by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Story by Susan Tompor for the Detroit Free Press

Not Just Credit Cards: More Apps Offer Ways to Get Cash Back
Cash back is not just for credit cards. More apps and websites are offering ways to earn money on the stuff you buy, as long as you’re willing to sign up and make a few taps or clicks. Groupon, RetailMeNot and others work with restaurants and retailers to offer cash back for their users. In return, they get a cut of the sales made. But shoppers have to do some work for the money. You may need to link a credit or debit card, or visit the app before you shop to unlock the deal. And then there’s the fine print to read: Some will offer money back, but only up to a certain amount. And in most cases, debit card purchases need to be processed at the register as a credit card; typing in a personal identification number won’t earn you the cash back. Story by Joseph Pisani for the Associated Press

American Express Introduces New Cashback Credit Card to Appeal to Millennials
American Express, once an exclusive credit card company only available to the biggest spenders, is making its cards even easier to get. On Thursday, the company released the American Express Cash Magnet card. It has no annual fee and pays unlimited 1.5% cashback. There is no cap on the amount of cashback cardholders can earn. And cardholders earn the cash on all types of purchases, not just ones in certain categories like groceries or restaurant meals. AmEx created the Magnet card partly in response to customer demand for cards with perks that are easy to understand. Story by Maria LaMagna for MarketWatch

Starbucks And Chase Partner On Prepaid Visa
In their ongoing mutual mission to make coffee purchases more rewarding, Starbucks and Chase are rolling out the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card. The product, the first of its kind, allows users to earn Starbucks Stars (the official currency of the Starbucks rewards program) outside the walls of a Starbucks in other retail locations where they use the card. There are no monthly or reload fees associated with the card. This prepaid card is the second such rewards card play from the two firms in 2018: The first was Starbucks first branded credit card, the Starbucks Rewards Visa. According to the two firms, the card is designed to capture customers who would like access to the types of rewards that credit card customers are used to, but without having to use an actual credit card. Stars can be earned at any place Visa cards are accepted. Story in PYMNTS

American Express to Launch Credit Card Made from Ocean Plastic
Using your credit card can sometimes be a guilty experience. Fortunately, American Express is working to alleviate some of that guilt through the launch of a new card made entirely with plastic recovered from the ocean. The new credit card, a world-first, is being produced with Parley for the Oceans, a marine conservation group which has worked with Adidas on a highly successful plastic sports shoe. The card currently exists as a prototype but it is expected be made available to the public within the next 12 months. Story in Climate Action

Wells Fargo Says ‘No’ to Cryptocurrency Purchases on its Credit Cards
Anyone who hopes to purchase cryptocurrency with a Wells Fargo credit card will be out of luck. The bank recently announced a ban on the purchase of bitcoin and similar currencies using its credit cards. Wells Fargo said the move was based on the various risks of the volatile investment, but the company said it would watch the issue as the market changes. It’s the latest bank to join other big banks such as Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Capital One in announcing restricting cryptocurrency purchases on credit cards. This move began in February with the companies citing credit and market risk concerns. Discover Financial Services was ahead of the curve, prohibiting cryptocurrency credit card purchases back in 2015. Story by Debbie Baratz for Lend Edu

Merchants Dialing Back Mobile Wallet Acceptance
Fewer merchants are accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay and other mobile wallets this year compared to 2017, and many don’t have any way to detect or track fraudulent mobile transactions, according to research by a fraud-detection firm. The survey of almost 600 merchants found that between 2017 and 2018, the percentage accepting Apple Pay fell from 48% to 35% and the percentage accepting Google Pay sank from 38% to 25%. It also found that over a third of merchants (35%) don’t track mobile fraud or even know whether attempts at mobile fraud have increased or decreased. Story by Tina Orem for Credit Union Times

First Data and Mastercard Team Up for a Digital Disbursement Platform
First Data and Mastercard recently announced that they have partnered up to provide a digital disbursement platform to Mastercard’s business customers. First Data’s Disburse-to-Debit offering will be made available to Mastercard customers that utilize MoneySend to push real-time payments to debit card holders. Debit disbursements have become particularly popular with gig workers, who want real-time debit payouts for their services. Other beneficiaries of real-time debit payments include businesses with high volumes of consumer payouts such as insurance claims, refunds, commissions, and rebates. Story in Read IT Quik

Researcher Finds Credentials for 92 Million Users of DNA Testing Firm MyHeritage
MyHeritage, an Israeli-based genealogy and DNA testing company, disclosed today that a security researcher found on the Internet a file containing the email addresses and hashed passwords of more than 92 million of its users. MyHeritage says it has no reason to believe other user data was compromised, and it is urging all users to change their passwords. It says sensitive customer DNA data is stored on IT systems that are separate from its user database, and that user passwords were “hashed,” or churned through a mathematical model designed to turn them into unique pieces of gibberish text that is (in theory, at least) difficult to reverse. Story by Brian Krebs for Krebs on Security

Major Credit Card Issuer In Argentina Partners With Blockchain-Based Credit Network
As blockchain technology continues to make its way into the mainstream, a number of established companies and industries are looking at ways to integrate it into existing infrastructures. Financial institutions in particular are interested in leveraging blockchain technology to boost inclusion and growth. One of the biggest credit card issuers in Argentina, Naranja has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Ripio Credit Network (RCN) to explore the possibility of using blockchain technology to record different credit lines. Pilots for the partnership with Naranja and RCN, a global peer-to-peer credit network based on consigned smart contracts, are expected to launch during Q1 of 2019. This will make Naranja the first credit card company in the region planning to use blockchain technology. Story by Rachel Wolfson for Forbes

Visa Slashes Fee on Debit Card Payments in India, Wants More Small Merchants on Board
Visa, the largest card payments network in the country, has slashed the charges it levies on debit card transactions, a move that could substantially enlarge India’s digital payments market by bringing more small merchants and customers into the fold. In a note circulated among member banks recently, Visa said it would cut rates on debit card transactions by up to 95%. The largest quantum of decrease will apply to transactions under Rs2,000. Story by Pratik Bhakta for The Economic Times


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
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